Men are statistically less likely to seek dental treatment and look after their oral health, visiting a dentist only when a problem arises. However, this is starting to change, with recent polls showing the traditional reasons for not visiting the dentist are disappearing.
Long standing trends have shown men feel:
- they do not need to go
- they have a fear of the dentist and are embarrassed
- they don’t have the time
- they have let their teeth go for so long they feel it is too big and too expensive a job.
In the last 5 years this trend has changed with an increase in men seeking cosmetic improvements to their teeth, not only for an improved appearance, but also to improve their general health as they get older. The new kids on the block in the work place and in the business world, “the fluoride kids” have beautiful white teeth and many have never had a cavity. The benefits of a great smile for both health and appearance become obvious, maintenance and check-ups are all part of looking and feeling your best.
The change is also being forced by an increased awareness of the connection between oral health and systemic health as our population ages, our weight increases and common systemic diseases increase in number.
How is Cosmetic Dentistry for Men different?
There are many options available to improve your teeth and your smile. What is important is to design the teeth, in a way that suits a man’s face. Men have far more prominent jaw lines and more powerful musculature around the jaw region. Choosing a square tooth shape and more prominent canines (the eye teeth) are better suited to this shape, avoiding the feminine round curvatures unless specifically suited.
Today in our practice we also have far more men requesting teeth whitening then women. The procedure is safe, easy and affordable. Most teeth will whiten (grey is the only shade that will not change colour) and can create a significant change in a smile. Teeth whitening has also been shown to kill plaque and bacteria giving a health benefit as well as improving the appearance.
Men can also present with more complex dental needs. Years of playing rough contact sport can result in multiple crowned teeth of many different colours that do not match together.
Experience in rehabilitation and cosmetic dentistry means we can look at a single piece of treatment and ensure it will give maximum aesthetic results.
“A common sequalae we encounter, is gentlemen presenting for an implant to replace one front missing tooth where the space is not wide enough to fit the new tooth. Simply replacing the small white fillings or re-contouring the neighbouring teeth can alter the space to make what could have been a poor cosmetic result a spectacular change.” – Dr Barbara Szylkarski
What is the Connection between my Gum Health and my Heart and Body Health?
Over the last 10 years much research has been done into the connection between dental health and systemic health. It has now been shown that poor oral health negatively impacts on the rest of the body. It is believed that almost every medical condition will have some form of manifestation in the mouth. Gum disease has been linked to problems such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and chronic kidney disease.
It is believed that inflammatory causing bacteria from red swollen gums, is given easy access to the blood stream. The bacteria pass through the body creating an inflammatory response away from the mouth. Inflammation is a major force behind chronic disease. Following gum disease treatment, it has been shown that the level of inflammatory cells in the body dropped to allow the heart vessels to more easily relax and contract as well as an easier control on blood sugar levels in diabetes.
Why are my Teeth so Worn Out?
Grinding: The more powerful muscles in men combined with grinding and clenching the teeth, accounts for heavier tooth wear. By the time men present to the dentist, teeth have often halved in height or have suffered multiple chips and breaks. This mean choosing stronger more durable dental resins and porcelains for restoring worn teeth, being more aware of the potential for cracked teeth and adjusting treatment plans to accommodate for this.
Medication: Although the gap is closing, men are more likely to suffer a heart attack leading to the use of medications that can cause dry mouth. Medications are used to treat blood pressure, heart problems and depression, all of which will decrease the saliva flow which protects the teeth against cavities.
Acid: Acid attack on teeth is common due to red wine consumption and acid reflux. This softens and dissolves the teeth and allows for more rapid wear. It is critical to identify these factors and implement specific preventive measures for successful treatment results.
Intense physical activity: Intensive sports such as marathon running are often combined with sport drinks, gels and supplementation. Intense physical activity leads to de-hydration and a decrease in saliva flow. The supplements create an acidic environment and in the absence of saliva, the tooth structure dissolves away. The enamel dissolves slowly to begin with and you may not notice but once penetrated to the underlying dentin, tooth destruction can be very rapid. There are now specific dental products to help combat this destruction.
What can I do to Overcome my Fear of the Dentist?
Leichhardt St Dental Practice is well equipped to accommodate dental anxiety and fear. We find that more men than women are fearful of the dentist, many times related to childhood traumatic dental experiences and the need to be ‘tough’ at the dentist.
We have Oraqix numbing gel for cleaning the teeth, the WAND for numbing the teeth and nitrous oxide sedation. Nitrous oxide sedation is particularly useful as after a short recovery you can return to work and get on with your day. Learn more in our blog article.
Is it going to be too big a job and too expensive?
We have seen all levels of tooth damage so there is no need to be embarrassed when you visit, there is no judgement. We make a concerted effort to assess your situation, the causes of the dental problems and implement a specific treatment plan and prevention plan. We will help you explore the pros and cons of your options, and analyse both time and costs of treatment.
We have case studies that you can have a look at, from restoring small segments of front teeth, to full mouth rehabilitation’s. Options range from simple teeth cleaning and whitening, to direct and fast resin restorations, to partial dentures, and more complex porcelain crowns, veneers, and implants.
Treatment plans can be either completed gradually or completed as quickly as possible. You may be surprised by the options and flexibility available.
I’ve never flossed, and I am not about to start with this habit?
This is something I understandably hear a lot. Flossing is as important as twice daily toothbrushing but is a habit that is very difficult to adopt later in life. Today however we have many other instruments available to us for cleaning our teeth, if flossing is not for you. A water pic is one of these that I receive great feedback, and clinically find it is very successful in keeping the teeth and gums clean.
Get in touch today, we would love to hear from you and see you at our Brisbane Dental Practice in Spring Hill.
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